This is about half way in the Cognitive Bias Study
Negativity bias, aka the negativity effect, is the idea that, even when evidence is of equal intensity, things of a more negative nature have a greater effect on one’s psychological state and processes than neutral or positive things.
This is a real thing. I know I’ve felt this before.
Some potential countermeasures are
A shorthand version I learned while in the Army was to go ahead an take whatever problem you have or anticipate and run it to the absolute worst possible outcome. We called this the “in a van down by the river” game.
Take your problem, in this example we’ll say that you didn’t turn in a report on time. So what’s the worst that can happen?
You get fired.
Ok so now you are fired, then what’s the worst that can happen?
Your significant other leaves you.
you loose your house.
you end up homeless in a van down by the river.
When you take it to this extreme it becomes comedic. Kind of a perverse game of seven degrees of Keven Bacon.
Try it the next time something in your life goes awry, or you are troubled about a decision. It works for me….
but then maybe I live in a van down by the river…